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Renewable Hydrogen Hub

Renewable Hydrogen Hub

With many renewable energy projects currently proposed or under construction, Townsville is uniquely placed to contribute to the establishment of a hydrogen energy industry in Queensland. The Energy Policy Brief also enables development of the hydrogen hub.

Content accurate as of July 2020.

The Queensland Government is committed to achieving a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 to reduce emissions and act on climate change, create new jobs and diversify the state’s economy. In May 2019, the Queensland Government adopted the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024. It subsequently appointed three Hydrogen Industry Champions in Gladstone, Redlands and Townsville to help achieve the vision for a Queensland hydrogen industry to export the state’s sunshine to the world.

Townsville is uniquely placed to contribute to this commitment, supplying green hydrogen for domestic and export markets. With substantial suitable land and renewable energy capacity (including several constructed and approved renewable solar energy facilities), undersubscribed use of the North Queensland Gas Pipeline and connecting gas infrastructure, and the deep-water Port of Townsville undergoing expansion to enable continued domestic and international marine import-export growth.

There has been strong interest from local large-scale industrial operators, including the Port of Townsville, Sun Metals, ITM Power and Edify Energy, in being part of a hydrogen energy hub. In addition, recent discussions with Queensland University of Technology have indicated a strong desire on their part to be involved in the development of a Green Hydrogen Hub in Townsville.

There is a need to reduce our environmental impact and provide a secure and sustainable economy for future generations. With an economy based heavily on natural resources, North Queensland is central to the transition required.

The primary challenges to implementation of a renewable hydrogen in North Queensland include:

  • Production costs for private investors – a focus on co-location of industrial uses that provide synergistic “co-opetition” opportunities allowing for cross-utilisation of similar inputs to maximise efficiencies and outputs created (for example, co-location of hydrogen producers with renewable solar projects and wastewater treatment infrastructures to best harness benefits for all users)
  • Attracting private sector investment to establish in regional Queensland through optimisation of competitive advantages and incentivisation
  • Effective policy framework that balances assessed risks with sustainable development outcomes to provide certainty for all stakeholders, primarily private sector investors and the wider community
  • Growing community awareness, education and ultimately, acceptance of hydrogen
  • Ensuring regional, local workforces are skilled in the areas of production, handling and use of hydrogen and associated technologies.

Working together, local State and Australian Government can secure a sustainable future for Townsville, North Queensland based on clean advanced manufacturing and green hydrogen production.

Building upon existing investments in recycled water, and private investment into solar power, there is an immediate opportunity to leverage private sector interest into this emerging industry by collaboratively and innovatively overcoming primary challenges.

Green Hydrogen Hub
Current Policy

On 19 May 2020, the Queensland Premier announced a $20 million funding commitment towards the construction of a Queensland Apprenticeships Centre in renewable hydrogen at Beenleigh.

The Hydrogen Industry Development Fund will provide $5 million to Sun Metals to build North Queensland’s first renewable hydrogen facility and $4.2 million for a gas injection facility in Gladstone to deliver renewable hydrogen into the city’s gas network.

Proposed Policy

To ensure that North Queensland can play its part in the establishment of Queensland’s hydrogen industry, allocate $20 million to establish a Green Hydrogen Hub in North Queensland in cooperation with our local industries and Queensland universities.

Responsibility
  • Queensland Government
Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility
Current Policy

Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility funding does allow for renewable energy projects currently, however would need to meet the eligibility criteria.

Only $2 billion of the $5 billion of the NAIF funding has been committed to projects to date.

Proposed Policy

To encourage the hydrogen industry, quarantine a portion of NAIF, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and/or Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding to renewables like hydrogen (replicate arrangements in place under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency).

Responsibility
  • Australian Government

Increased renewable energy and creation of new sustainable industries in Townsville which would create jobs and economic activity.

Policy

Policies that lower costs will go towards assisting new sectors to establish, including:

  • Insurance
  • Taxation/revenue
  • Energy
  • Jobs and industrial relations
  • Regional FBT exemption for flights that hub out of Townsville, rather than Brisbane or major capital cities.
Programs
  • Queensland Hydrogen Industry Development Fund, Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP)
Projects
  • NQT-1084 – The Lansdown Eco Industrial Precinct Integrated Energy Project (Majors Creek Solar)
  • NQT-1081 – Renewable hydrogen using recycled water
  • NQT-1085 – Sun Metals recycled water pipeline
  • NQT-1107 – Smart precinct NQ and Townsville Connect
Initiatives
  • Regional Skills Investment Strategy (RSIS), Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT)